Billionaire Bill Gross found guilty of contempt in a harassment case with his neighbors involving a $1 million sculpture and the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ theme song

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Bill Gross was down heavily during the GameStop saga but ended up making around $10 million

  • Bill Gross and his wife were found guilty of violating a restraining order by playing loud music.
  • The billionaire bond investor and his wife must each pay a $1,000 fine and serve five days in jail.
  • Their quarrel with their Laguna Beach neighbors began last year over a $1 million outdoor sculpture.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Billionaire bond investor Bill Gross and his wife Amy were found guilty of violating a temporary restraining order, Bloomberg reported Friday.

The ruling is the latest development in a months-long legal feud with their next-door neighbors in Laguna Beach, California.

The couple has been embroiled in a legal battle with their neighbors, Mark Towfiq and Carol Nakahara, since last year after the Grosses installed white netting in their backyard to protect a $1 million outdoor sculpture from the elements, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Towfiq filed a complaint with the city, claiming the netting blocked his view. The complaint sparked an ongoing fight between the neighbors, with Towfiq and his wife filing a three-year restraining order against the Grosses, alleging they blared the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song at all hours as a response to the complaint, the LA Times reported.

In turn, Bill and Amy Gross, who were married in April of this year, filed a suit saying that their neighbors were obsessed with them and that the show’s theme song wasn’t played specifically to annoy their neighbors.

Gross claimed the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song has a special meaning for him because the title sequence of the show looked like the view outside his house, according to a CNBC report.

“I could look at the TV and look outside the window, and there were the same palm trees of 55 years ago,” Gross said, citing the report. “I said, ‘This is incredible!'”

On Friday, Judge Kimberly Knill admonished the Grosses for flagrantly violating the restraining order, which prohibited them from playing loud music, calling him “contemptuous” and saying he acted as an “instigator.” Knill handed both Gross and his wife a $1,000 fine each and five days in jail, according to The Daily Beast

However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the judge allowed two of the five days to be served as community service, barring further infractions. The court has yet to impose a judgment on how the other three days of their sentence will be spent, The Daily Beast reported.

In a statement Friday, the retired billionaire bond investor called the sentence “a travesty of justice and a black mark on the Orange County judicial system,” and plans to appeal the decision.

Chase Scolnick, attorney for the Grosses’ neighbors, said his clients were “pleased with today’s result.”

“We hope the court’s order will finally cause Bill and Amy Gross to modify their behavior so our clients can live in peace, which is all they ever wanted,” Scolnick said, citing a report by the Los Angeles Times.

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Coinbase drops as crypto joins broader markets in steep sell-off on China fears

Coinbase and Bitcoin
Coinbase and Bitcoin

  • Coinbase fell as much as 5.7% on Monday amid a broader sell-off in the crypto and stock markets.
  • The dip in Coinbase shares coincided with steep drops in the prices of nearly all major cryptocurrencies.
  • The brewing liquidity crisis at Evergrande and US domestic policy risks battered markets.
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Coinbase fell as much as 5.7% on Monday amid a broader sell-off in the crypto and stock markets, intensified by news the crypto exchange would give up on a lending product after a tiff with the SEC.

Shares in Coinbase fell as low as $231.15 on Monday from the previous Friday’s closing price of $245.19. The stock closed lower by 3.5%, finishing Monday’s session at $236.53.

The dip in Coinbase shares coincided with steep drops in the prices of nearly all major cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and ether tumbled as much as 10.4% and 12.9%, respectively, as dogecoin, solana, and XRP plunged alongside the two biggest tokens.

Likewise, US stock markets declined sharply, with many analysts pinning the blame on the brewing liquidity crisis at Evergrande and the implications for China’s economy.

But others pointed to US domestic policy as the proximate driver of Monday’s dip.

“The Evergrande situation, although big and impactful, isn’t the reason for this sell-off,” said Jamie Cox of Harris Financial Group. “Rather, stalemates in Congress on the debt ceiling, worries on policy changes or mistakes in monetary policy, and a litany of proposed tax increases have dampened the mood for investors.”

As Coinbase stock swooned, so did the company’s bonds, which trade at junk levels. The bonds fell as low as 95.75 cents on the dollar as news emerged that the company was giving up on a lending product that the SEC had threatened to block by legal action.

The Coinbase bonds were already among the worst-performing newly issued debt, according to Bloomberg.

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Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman warns bitcoin buyers, rings the inflation alarm, and rules out an imminent market crash in a new interview. Here are the 14 best quotes.

Leon Cooperman
Leon Cooperman.

  • Leon Cooperman doesn’t expect a market crash, or recession for another year at least.
  • The billionaire investor sounded the inflation alarm and cautioned against betting on bitcoin.
  • Cooperman called out Robinhood users for boosting meme stocks to heady valuations.
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Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman ruled out an imminent market crash, blasted the Federal Reserve for overstimulating the economy, and warned against holding bitcoin in a CNBC interview this week.

Cooperman, who converted his Omega Advisors hedge fund into a family office in 2018, also rang the inflation alarm, questioned the hype around meme stocks, and bemoaned the tiny yields from bonds and saving accounts.

Here are Cooperman’s 14 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “Big declines come about because of recession. We’re coming out of a recession, we’re not going into one anytime soon. That’s at least a year away, maybe longer.” – Cooperman listed higher inflation, a falling dollar, and the Fed reducing, or eliminating its economic support as likely catalysts for the next downturn.

2. “The Fed is wrong on inflation. This idea that inflation is transitory is a pipe dream. 65% of business costs are labor. You know anybody working for less money in this environment?”

3. “The Fed has been the handmaiden to this administration. We’re running enormous fiscal deficits and the Fed has been funding it.”

4. “The market structure is broken. There’s no stabilizing forces in the market now, it’s all run by machines. When there’s a real reason for the market to go down, it’ll go down so quickly your head’s gonna spin.”

5. “If you don’t understand bitcoin, it means you’re old. I’m 78, I’m old, I don’t understand it. One thing I do know is it’s not in the interest of the US government to further a substitute for the US dollar.”

6. “I’d be very careful with bitcoin. I don’t think it makes a great deal of sense. If you’re nervous about the world, gold would be a better store of value than bitcoin.”

7. “Most companies are not overvalued against interest rates today. Some things are overpriced, are crazy – I call that the Robinhood market. I hope they know what they’re doing, but I doubt it.”

8. “Negative interest rates are ridiculous. There’s a bunch of academicians running monetary policy around the world. Bonds are totally mispriced. The idea of buying 10-year German bonds and getting less back in 10 years than you invest today – I really don’t get it at all.”

9. “There’s gotta be a return from investing in fixed income. The government’s gotta sell a lot of bonds. What schnook is gonna buy a bond today?”

10. “I’m listening to Fed-speak, I’m looking at inflation, market action, gold, bitcoin, the dollar exchange rate, and interest rates overall. I’m watching a lot of things for a signal to change.” – outlining what he’s monitoring to determine when it’s time to get out of the market.

11. “I’m a perennial optimist. I kind of agree with Warren Buffett. People don’t get rich being short America.”

12. “I don’t like the attack on the wealthy. I’m giving all my money away so I couldn’t care less, but I’m a capitalist with a heart. This constant attacking of wealthy people is very disturbing to me.”

13. “You could take away all the money from the wealthy and still not cover the fiscal problems for the country.”

14. “If you go to your financial planner and ask them what are you gonna earn on your savings, the answer is ‘bupkus.’ You can’t earn any money on your savings, you can’t afford to retire. That reduces the opportunity for the young people entering the labor force. The world has been turned upside down. This has got to change.”

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US stocks trade mixed as worries persist over Fed plans and growth outlook

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • US stocks were mixed on Friday, continuing volatile trading driven by Fed plans to taper asset purchases.
  • The Nasdaq Composite edged higher but all three of Wall Street’s benchmarks were in line to fall for the week.
  • Investors are concerned about rising COVID-19 cases and the potential impact on economic recovery.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Stocks were mixed on Friday and were on course to lock in a losing week during which investors faced the prospect of less stimulus support from the Federal Reserve while economic growth worries persist as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

The S&P 500 was modestly higher, while the Nasdaq Composite, which hosts large-cap tech stocks, managed to climb as well. The Dow Jones industrial average edged lower. All three of Wall Street’s major benchmarks were in line to decline on a weekly basis.

Investors are monitoring updates about the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and trying to assess what that means for economic activity such as consumer spending and business openings. 7-day average daily cases in the US topped 133,000 on Friday, the highest since February, and hospitalizations and deaths are increasing.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. on Friday:

Meanwhile, minutes released this week from the Federal Reserve’s meeting in July signaled that most policy makers are looking to reduce asset purchases later this year. Investors are looking ahead to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comments about the economy next week at the central bank’s Jackson Hole symposium.

Around the markets, China’s biggest tech stocks fell sharply after the country’s top legislature passed a data protection law that means companies will need to comply with strict rules on collecting and handling people’s information.

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, will add $500 million of crypto to its balance sheet, and allocate 10% of its future quarterly profits to growing its holdings.

Gold rose 0.3% to $1,785.40 per ounce. The yield on the US 10-year Treasury note stood at 1.23%, down less than 1 basis point.

Oil prices dropped. West Texas Intermediate crude lost 2.4% to $62.17 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, declined 1.8%, to $65.25 per barrel.

Bitcoin gained 0.7% to $47,004.40.

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Dow plummets 726 points for worst day of 2021 as virus variants threaten global recovery

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US stocks cratered on Monday as investors eyed a spike in global COVID-19 cases led by the Delta variant, throwing up a roadblock to a full recovery of the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 726 points, or about 2.1%, for its worst day since October 2020, while the benchmark S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite also tumbled.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined as much as 12.2 basis points to 1.177%, its lowest level since February as investors flocked to safe-haven assets.

Here’s where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. ET close on Monday:

Read more: ‘More weakening beneath the surface’: A Wall Street strategist who warned investors before last year’s 35% crash lays out the latest signs that another slump into a bear market is looming

“COVID has returned to the front burner of investor concerns right now,” David Donabedian, CIO of CIBC Private Wealth, said in a note. “Last week we had high inflation readings. Now we have concerns that the rise in COVID cases is dimming the economic outlook. While the second-quarter earnings reports have so far beat expectations, this is old news now.”

Shares of airlines, cruise operators, and other travel companies slumped on concerns that the Delta variant would derail the recovery.

American Airlines and airplane maker Boeing all slipped roughly 5% each. Expedia Group and hotel chain Marriott both declined by roughly 3% each. Meanwhile, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and Royal Caribbean Cruises all fell as well.

Energy stocks tumbled, including Texas-based oil equipment maker NOV and Diamondback Energy.

Some argue the plunge on Monday is nothing to fear. The sell-off in stocks is a “healthy pullback” that will likely be short-lived and could present a buying opportunity, said technical analyst Katie Stockton of Fairlead Strategies.

In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin continued its recent slide, falling as much as 3.4% to $30,646.90. All other major cryptocurrencies – ether, cardano, ripple, dogecoin, polkadot, and solana – traded lower on Monday.

Despite the downturn, mining bitcoin has been a lot easier. The asset’s “network difficulty,” which measures how much computing power is needed to mint a new bitcoin, has plummeted.

Oil fell on news over the weekend that OPEC+ reached a deal on supply, overcoming the deadlock between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell as much as 8.06%, to $66.02 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, dropped 7.39%, to $68.15 per barrel, at intraday lows.

Gold fell as much as 0.45%, to $1,807.56 per ounce.

Lumber gained modestly, rising 4.83% to $561.90 as supply catches up with demand. Prices are set to stay elevated despite recent declines, according to an economist,

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The S&P 500 could drop sharply in the 3rd quarter as the ‘5 P’s’ pressure markets, Bank of America says

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  • The first half of the year has brought good news for many assets, but the rally could use a “breather,” BofA analyst write.
  • The five P’s – pandemic, price, positioning, policy, and profits – are set to weigh on markets in the third quarter.
  • Stocks may also fall preemptively, as investor jitters make lower Q4 profits show up in Q3 share prices.
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Bank of America is anticipating a preemptive slowdown in the third quarter as investors fearing the “five P’s” pull back across asset classes, analysts wrote in a note.

The first half of the year has brought good news for many assets, but the “Wall St boom/bubble” could use a “breather,” BofA’s analysts wrote.

In their view, the five P’s – pandemic, price, positioning, policy, and profits – look set to weigh on credit, stock, and commodity returns in Q3, partially in expectation of weaker company earnings relative to growth in the fourth quarter.

Pandemic

With Covid cases around the world ticking up due in part to the Delta variant, BofA expects growth and earnings expectations for this year and next to fall. That could lead to downward pressure on asset prices.

Price

The latest Covid wave comes as asset pricing is already robust, with the S&P 500 price-to-earnings ratio at dot-com bubble levels. Commodities and housing are also at or nearing historic valuations. US spreads between risk-free and junk bonds are exceptionally tight, as junk bond yields fell below inflation on Friday. (Prices rise when yields fall.)

Positioning

The analysts pointed to survey data showing fund managers pouring money into “late cycle” assets – those best suited for inflation and weak growth. In Q3, they see the S&P 500 falling below 4,000, a drop of roughly 8% from current levels, led by flagging tech stocks, which many investors (wrongly, in their view) see as a good defensive option.

Policy

Inflation across the developed world will force monetary and fiscal authorities to ease up on stimulus measures in the coming quarter. Moreover, prospects for Joe Biden’s proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure package have dimmed as the administration now pursues a slimmed down bipartisan deal.

China is still a “wild card” in terms of policy, the BofA analysts wrote, but the central bank seems wary of overheating the country’s fragile financial sector.

Profits

Between potential future Covid restrictions, supply shortages, and likely growth deceleration, corporate profits are poised to feel the pinch in the second half of the year. Stocks may also fall preemptively, as investor jitters make lower Q4 profits show up in Q3 share prices.

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warns of ‘absolutely catastrophic’ hit to economic recovery this summer if US can’t pay its bills on time

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  • On Wednesday Secretary Yellen asked Congress to extend a July deadline to pay back some of the federal debt.
  • Without an extension, she warned of a “catastrophic” default that could hurt economic recovery.
  • Some in the GOP have signaled they want spending cuts in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress on Wednesday to extend a July 31 deadline to pay down a portion of the federal government’s $28 trillion in debt to investors and foreign governments.

Without the extension, she warned of an “absolutely catastrophic” default that would imperil the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“I think defaulting on the national debt should be regarded as unthinkable,” she told the Senate Appropriations Committee, calling it “utterly unprecedented in American history for the US government to default on its legal obligations.”

Though borrowing is a routine cycle the federal government uses to keep the country running through the sale of bonds, it’s reaching its “debt ceiling” on July 31 and needs to service its debt before it can borrow more. The Treasury has some ability to keep payments flowing beyond that date, but Yellen said it could exhaust those measures sometime in August during the month-long Congressional recess. Increasing the debt ceiling does not mean additional federal spending.

If the federal government defaults, Yellen said it could jumpstart a chain reaction of cash shortages starting with US bond holders, which include individuals, businesses, and foreign governments.

“I believe it would precipitate a financial crisis,” Yellen said. “It would threaten the jobs and savings of Americans and at a time we’re recovering from the COVID pandemic.”

Congress last suspended the borrowing limit in July 2019 for two years under President Donald Trump. Yellen also emphasized the pandemic is causing uncertainty around the Treasury’s emergency powers to step in with emergency payments if it became necessary.

Some Republicans have signaled they will press for spending cuts in exchange for signing onto a debt ceiling increase, despite supporting a surge of red ink under Trump. Among many Democrats, memories of a 2011 brawl between House Republicans and President Barack Obama on the debt ceiling are still fresh, as it sent stocks tumbling and caused the first downgrade to US credit.

“This is a page from the Obama-era economic sabotage playbook, and I’m not going to let Republicans play games with the economy for their political benefit,” Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider in April.

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S&P 500 hovers near record highs on continued economic optimism and Fed support

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US stock market investors are feeling optimistic about the economy.

  • US stocks rose with the S&P 500 hovering near record highs Friday as investors remain optimistic about the US economy.
  • The benchmark index on Thursday broke both its intraday and closing records.
  • The 10-year Treasury yield was around 1.455% Friday, in a sign that the market believes strong inflation will prove transitory
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US stocks rose on Friday, with the S&P 500 hovering near record highs as investors continue to remain optimistic about the US economy amid support from the Federal Reserve.

The benchmark index on Thursday broke both its intraday record and closing record, to finish the session at 4,239.18.

Tom Lee, managing partner and the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said the breakout to new highs was presaged by the upside breakout last week.

“Our base case of a surge in S&P 500 to 4,400 before mid-year 2021 remains intact,” Lee said in a note.

While Thursday’s data showed that US inflation surged more than expected in May, weekly jobless claims fell to a pandemic-era low.

The 10-year Treasury yield was trading around 1.455%, two basis points above its March low, in a sign that the market believes strong inflation will prove transitory, as the Federal Reserve has stated.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 9:30 a.m. open on Friday:

Bitcoin was trading at $37,421. The world’s most popular cryptocurrency climbed to a one-week high Thursday, hitting $38,000 as the cryptocurrency shrugged off renewed calls for tighter regulation.

Gold slipped by 0.57% to 1,887.18 per ounce. The precious metal lost some ground as the US dollar rose.

Oil prices fell. West Texas Intermediate crude edged lower by 0.07% to $70.24 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, was down 0.07%, at $72.47 per barrel.

The International Energy Agency said on Friday that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, but renewed COVID outbreaks and low vaccination levels in developing countries will make the recovery uneven.

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Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says he’d rather own bitcoin than bonds as inflation surges – and reveals he’s bought some of the cryptocurrency

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  • Ray Dalio said he’d rather own bitcoin than bonds in a CoinDesk interviewed aired Monday.
  • The Bridgewater founder also said he owns “some bitcoin,” the first time he’s ever disclosed a position in the cryptocurrency.
  • Dalio has been bearish on bonds for a while, saying they pay less than inflation.
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Billionaire investor Ray Dalio said he would rather own bitcoin than bonds in an interview aired on Monday at the Consensus by CoinDesk 2021 convention.

The Bridgewater Associates founder reiterated his view that the US dollar is on the verge of a devaluation, and he suggested that bitcoin could be an attractive savings vehicle in an inflationary scenario.

“The more we create savings in it, the more you might say, ‘I’d rather have bitcoin than the bond,'” Dalio said. “Personally, I’d rather have bitcoin than a bond.”

The billionaire investor has been bearish on bonds for quite some time, saying that the financial instruments pay less than inflation.

“I have some bitcoin,” Dalio also said during the interview, which was recorded on May 6. The investor didn’t say how much he owned.

Bitcoin rebounded as much as 15% on Monday to trade around $38,683 per coin after a vicious sell-off over the weekend.

He added that bitcoin’s greatest risk is its success. If it becomes a larger asset class and starts to pose a real threat to others like bonds, that could prompt a regulatory crackdown that could hinder the cryptocurrency. He said right now, bitcoin isn’t a true threat because it’s still small relative to other assets. The total value of bitcoin is slightly over $1 trillion, while the value of US bonds is about $23 trillion, according to Dalio.

In March, Dalio said that the government could ban bitcoin altogether if it becomes too successful.

The investor was skeptical about the cryptocurrency as recently as November, but he began to warm-up to the idea of bitcoin at the start of 2021. In an investor letter, he said that bitcoin is “one hell of an invention,” and said there exists a possibility that bitcoin and other cryptos could become an alternative gold-like store of value.

Read more: ‘Wolf of All Streets’ crypto trader Scott Melker breaks down his strategy for making money using ‘HODLing’ and 100X trade opportunities – and shares 5 under-the-radar tokens he thinks could explode

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Why gold is a better investment than bitcoin despite the cryptocurrency’s recent dominance, according to SocGen

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  • Bitcoin’s place in investment portfolios is still “highly contested” even after outperforming gold in recent months, says Societe Generale.
  • The cryptocurrency faces multiple risks including regulatory threats and “confusing” messaging from bitcoin backer Tesla.
  • SocGen has assigned gold a 5% weighting in its multi-asset portfolio.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Societe Generale has concerns about bitcoin’s presence in investment portfolios after a week that saw the ever-volatile cryptocurrency plummet more than 30% in a single day. That has the firm weighing gold as a superior option – despite its recent underperformance – given its better protective qualities against inflation.

Gold’s place in investment portfolios is better understood than bitcoin’s, the bank said, adding that it has assigned gold a 5% direct weight in its multi-asset portfolio. SocGen said the metal can partially offset capital losses on bonds in the event of rising inflation, and, in cases of runaway inflation or a return to deflation, the metal has a protective role in partially offsetting losses on equities.

SocGen said gold should be held in portfolios as a stabilizer, especially as the prospect of Federal Reserve tapering lurking as a headwind for stocks, for which the firm currently has a 59% weighting. It’s an outcome that the central bank has at least discussed, according to minutes from their April meeting.

“It comes as no surprise that the place of Bitcoin in any investment portfolio remains highly contested, precisely because of its erratic price movements,” wrote Alain Bokobza, head of Societe Generale’s global asset allocation, and analyst Arthur Van Slooten in a note published Thursday.

Bitcoin’s climb from around $10,000 in September has helped keep alive debate among investors about whether it’s is a stronger hedge against inflation than gold, which is considered a traditional vehicle for inflation protection. The Fed at the end of August said it would tolerate inflation running moderately above its 2% target for a period of time in an effort to support growth in the economy and the labor market.

The cryptocurrency’s standing took a hit this past week after the People’s Bank of China said digital tokens can’t be used as a payment form by financial institutions. Bitcoin had already been hit hard this month after Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the electric vehicle maker would stop taking bitcoin as payment, citing the “insane” amount of energy required to create new coins and secure the network as reasons for the move.

“The risks to bitcoin remain on the downside,” the analysts said, counting among the risks “confusing Tesla communications, past stratospheric price movements, potential new regulations from central banks on cryptocurrencies,” as well as environmental concerns related to its data mining. In another potential regulatory blow, the US Treasury said Thursday it wants every crypto transfer larger than $10,000 to be reported to the IRS.

Following bitcoin’s “latest leg down … investor enthusiasm must surely have cooled,” SocGen said.

And they’re hardly the first firm to point out a possible shift towards gold. JPMorgan research analysts this week said institutional investors are switching out of bitcoin and returning to gold for the first time in six months amid slumping crypto prices.

Read more: 7 crypto heavyweights told us what’s behind the sudden sell-off that erased over $400 billion from the market in just 24 hours – and whether now is the time to ‘buy the dip’

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